Home Dog Training What’s The Difference Between a Service Dog, Therapy Dog, and an Emotional Support Dog?

What’s The Difference Between a Service Dog, Therapy Dog, and an Emotional Support Dog?


Service Dogs, Therapy Dogs and Emotional Support Animals. What's the difference? This video is sponsored by Petflow! Set up automatic pet food delivery today at

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Playlist: How to teach your puppy or dog the basics in order:


ADA Requirements: Service Animals

Service Dog

Right to Emotional Support Animals in โ€œNo Petโ€ Housing

Fair Housing Act

Air Carrier Access Act

Assistance Dogs International: ADI Guide to Assistance Dog Laws

Mader, Bonnie, Lynette A. Hart, Bonita Bergen. (1989). Social Acknowledgments for Children with Disabilities: Effects of Service Dogs. Child Development 60.6 doi:10.2307/1130941


  1. Im getting a border collie or a Aussie and i need some good advice. so if you could tell me some, I’m watching your videos for some advice btw!

    1. Glittershine Both of those breeds are high energy, work driven dogs, so you’ll need to make sure that they get plenty of exercise. The good part about that work drive is that they are incredibly eager to work for you, so training should be a breeze once you figure out what best motivates your pup. (Food, a toy, or praise)

    2. People think breeds like Collies needs loads more exercise than other dogs but they don’t, It’s their brain that needs worked more.. problem solving, mental stimulation, teaching them scent/search games and one of most important things is.. Teaching them how to switch off and enjoy settle time.. Too many people amp these breeds up, taking them out for hours and throwing balls non stop, getting the dog addicted to chasing balls and being high on adrenaline, they then struggle to settle and switch off when at home, which some owners can’t handle so then get rid of dog not realising it’s them who has created that obessive non stop dog by trying to run legs off young dog every day in order to ‘tire him/her outbecause that’s all the advice you see on facebook.
      These breeds are smarter than some of the people who buy them.
      Awesome dog’s in the right hands

  2. I’m currently working on a law dissertation on the subject of service animals. I love the way that you have very clearly outlined the laws around these different statuses. If you’re curious there are a few articles out there that outline a lot of the changes that should be coming to this area of the ADA. In addition, many states have recently enacted laws that allow them to prosecute individuals that impersonate service animals in public accommodations. Also to more thoroughly understand the Department of Justice’s definition ofindividually trainedI recommend looking at some of the case law surrounding this issue. Some good ones would be Lentini v. California Center for the Arts, Escondido or Storms v. Fred Meyer Stores Inc. Another important issue would be the constitutionality of excluding emotional support animals under the ADA, because their handlers meet the definition ofdisabledunder the ADA. It will be interesting to see if this ever makes it to the Supreme Court and is overturned. Thanks for such an education video Zak!

  3. Hey Zac!

    Iโ€™ve enjoyed and used your videos for a long time. Our family raises Guide Dogs for Southeastern Guide Dogs and I use your videos to help train our dogs in basic obedience and basic exposure work.

    Hereโ€™s my question: our current dog is a 4 month old lab that weโ€™ve had a bit more than a month. Sheโ€™s nearly a perfect dog for her age, knows the basics really well, no major issues, etc., except that sheโ€™s developed a bit of a fear of going up stairs. Going down is fine, but going up closed and open-backed stairs she bocks and sometimes refuses to climb the stairs. Weโ€™ve never had a dog that has exhibited these symptoms before and we canโ€™t remember any specific incident that may have caused this fear.

    Do you have any suggestions on how to help her to get over this issue? Weโ€™ve tried giving her treats gradually as she climbs the stairs, but at a certain point midway up any stairwell she will refuse to go any further, even for treats. Sheโ€™s HIGHLY food motivated by the way.

  4. thank you thank you thank you loved the video and how accurate it was. I am waiting for my Service Dog candidate litter to be born and am already learning so much from your videos. I should be getting my puppy sometime in the spring. I love that you mentioned the commitment for a service dog because some people don’t realize the training we put into our dogs. thank you again.

    1. I am owner training. Lol I don’t know if i would call it self training because I am getting tips help and advice from professional dog trainers as well as watching Zak’s videos and listening to other service dog handlers that have had to train the same types of tasks as i need to. I am not going thru a program for various reasons.

  5. I saw this video pop up and I paused wondering how mad this video was going to make me.
    As a service dog handler I have heard theservice dog registrationquestion so many times. And even big dog trainers like CM have registered their dogs.
    I loveed the video. The information was correct, and covered everything equally and accurately.

    Thank you so much.

  6. This was a great video! I have a service dog and the questions or comments I receive most often are: How did you get one / how can I get a service dog? What I think should really be emphasised to people who are considering owning is how much work a service dog requires. Are you prepared to to extensive research on local laws and regulations, as well as what breed/characteristics would be most suitable for the tasks you need your dog to preform? Can you provide extensive training (as much as several hours a day) either yourself or by hiring a professional? Are you prepared to plan your day out extensively and ensure your dog has adequate excersise before outtings so he can preform his tasks calmly and competently? How about when you plan a specific outing and end up having to leave because a lady would not stop her children from trying to run over your dog with a stroller even after being confronted about it politely? How would you handle losing months of training to one person bringing their untrained dog into a coffee shop and letting it off leash tosay hiin the middle of the busy restaurant? Can you handle staff and other customers comments about your physical appearance and whether or not you should have a service dog? Without my dog I would not be able to go out in public safely, but owning one requires a complete change in lifestyle and an enormous amount of patience and knowledge. It is not for everyone ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Amen, I’m a puppy raiser for a local guide organization and can only say that every situation you’ve been in I can identify. Just wanted to say God Bless and hang in there. I can only say sorry for the ignorant (or arrogant) people out there.There is more of us who try to do the right thing then there is the other.

    2. retdep thank you so much for your well wishes. ๐Ÿ™‚ You are right about ignoring negativity, my quality of life has increased greatly despite the setbacks I’ve gotten. I wouldn’t trade my dog for the world now that I know the difference he’s made. Hopefully those who read my comment gain a bit of insight on the effort involved in having a working animal versus a pet.

  7. I don’t have a service dog but do have depression. I used to think a dog for emotional support was a jokebut my little aussie saved meI realized the difference they make. I don’t know how I will function without him now. He is only 6 months and still training. I don’t even know how he gets trained for service dog. I just thank God I have him now.

    1. Sorry to hear you are suffering from depression I am glad to hear your wonderful dog is helping though. Please,please,please don’t just buy an emotional support dog certificate from some phony on line vendor. Please seek out a support dog training organization near you. Your dog will do more for you than you ever thought possible. Your dog will be more alive than ever with true training and support. Both of you will reap the benefits.God bless.

    2. Janice leatham Your comment confuses me?
      Service dogs are trained for people who are disabled and do multiple tasks for their handler only

      Emotional support dogs provide comfort to their owner but require no training and don’t have public access

      And Therapy dogs help other people, and go to hospitals, nursing homes and sometimes schools


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